Tag Archives: art dolls

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times - anthropomorphic needle felted rabbit art doll sculpture Alice in Wonderland character mashup.

Wonderland Looking Glass Mash Up

Passes Through the Looking Glass One Too Many Times

My work travels through Alice in Wonderland’s looking glass every once in a while. Alice makes a number of appearances, and the White Rabbit showed up once as well. My latest trip through the looking glass appears to have taken a number of trips. “Through the Looking Glass One Too Many Times” is a mashup of several of the Wonderland denizens. Alice, the White Rabbit, the March Hare, The Mad Hatter, the Red Queen, the Cheshire Cat, and Absolem all lend elements to the piece.

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times - anthropomorphic rabbit needle felted art doll sculpture Alice in Wonderland character mashup
Through The Looking Glass One too Many Times

The sculpture not only brings together several different characters, but several types of media as well. The rabbit figure is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. Her eyes are iridescent black glass beads, that give the illusion of eyes of many different colors. I created her long eye lashes by fringing black denim, and sewing them in place. Her apron is white cotton and lace with needle felted wool pocket, heart appliqué, and novelty heart button. The “Drink Me” bottle is a compilation of beads with a small paper craft tag. I made Abselom’s hookah from a wooden ball, glass and metal beads, leather chord and metal findings. Her curly Alice locks are dyed wool roving from Susan Hope‘s (HGA artist) sheep.

Take Two, Take Three

Some pieces emerge fully formed in the sketchbook on take one. I create some on the fly with just a concept in mind. Through The Looking Glass was a fully formed concept that I needed to sketch. The first drawing was just too much, and felt forced. My second try also missed the mark. I felt that the figure had to try to accomplish the challenge of combining the figures without getting drowned in costuming. My third sketch served as the basis of this final piece. I hope you’ll agree I found the balance I was looking for.

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times - anthropomorphic needle felted rabbit art doll sculpture Alice in Wonderland character mashup
Through The Looking Glass … hat

At The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in September

Through The Looking Glass One Too Many Times will also make her debut at HGA in September. I will be sure to share when she and all her friends are available.

Plague Doctor - anthropomorphic rhinoceros sculpture w/plague mask, staff, and oxpecker assistant. Needle felted

Plague Doctor Rhinoceros?

Being Unmuted During a Plague

Did you spend any time in a Zoom or other e-meeting during the last year? If you did, you understand the phrase “unmute yourself.” Unmuted is the title of my upcoming featured artist show in September. The show title is a reference to the recent COVID lockdown. I spent time this week thinking about all the meanings of muted and unmuted while writing my statement for the show. You can mute a voice, mute a color, or mute a message. I try to look all the different interpretations in my pieces for this show. Some are bright and colorful, and some appear to be speaking or singing. Hopefully, one or two have something more to say.

Speaking Seriously and Playfully

My latest piece has something to say about this past year. We lived this last year through what might be referred to as a plague in history books. Looking at historical references we encounter the image of the plague doctor. Accounts place these figures anywhere between physicians and record keepers. Whatever their role, they have a distinct appearance, one that conveys the seriousness of their job. Most often we see a figure wearing a long beaked mask. I decided to go with something a bit different than the expected bird beak. My Plague Doctor is a rhinoceros in a spiked mask.

Plague Doctor - anthropomorphic rhinoceros sculpture w/plague mask, staff, and oxpecker assistant. needle felted
Plague Doctor

This anthropomorphic figure is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. I hand stitched his mask and hat from faux leather. His stick staff supports a glass bead lantern and finial of his trade. Additionally, his staff provides a third balance point that allows this art doll sculpture to stand on his own. I also created tiny sandbags within his feet that supply additional stability. Plague Doc has an oxpecker assistant riding on his shoulder.

My intent is the plague doctor juxtaposed with the absurdity of a rhinoceros conveys the seriousness of the past year in a playful manner.

Into the Process

Colleagues and collectors have asked questions about how my sculptures are constructed, especially the needle felting process. I took some work-in-progress images and video clips, and cobbled them together in this short video.

The felting is done with flat surfaced needles that have notches along their edges. As the needle(s) pass through, the wool gets pushed and pulled by those notches. The wool fibers have overlapping scales along their length. The scales catch as wool fibers are drawn across one another. This is what felts the fibers together.

Plague Doctor - anthropomorphic rhinoceros sculpture w/plague mask, staff, and oxpecker assistant. Needle felted
Plague Doctor detail

See you in September

Plague Doctor joins the friends I’ve already introduced (and a few you’ve yet to meet) at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in September. The show also features the art of Ellie Reinhold and Marcy Lansman, and installs in the gallery on September 20th, and goes live on the HGA store site on the 24th. The official show opening is during the Last Friday Art Walk also on the 24th. Mark you calendars, and keep an eye out for additional pieces before then.

Something A Little Too Familiar?

“Too Familiar” is the latest creation to exit my work table. Her genesis came from an external source. You may recall my last post, where I described a couple of pieces that weren’t exactly born in my sketch book. This latest sculpture was born on those pages, but in response to some thing I came across.

I saw a posting regarding a new issue of a defunct art publication. The post announced a new issue in the fall, and included a link to info for a call for submissions. They were looking for art dolls that fit either a Halloween or autumnal theme. As my feature show this year is in September, and I was in the midst of sketching ideas, I decided to play with the idea of animals that are known as “familiars”. They are the animal companions of witches and wizards… cats, owls, etc.

Too Familiar Taking Form

I first started my sketch of “Too Familiar” animal as witch, as a cat. The cat just appeared a little too precious to me. So, I refined my idea as an owl. Owls hold mystery and the appearance of wisdom. They are also a symbol of truth which fits in nicely with one of the many interpretations of the title of my September show “Unmuted”… to speak up.

Anthropomorphic owl art doll sculpture. Needle felted wool, one-of-a-kind artist original
Too Familiar

Too Familiar is a barn owl who is busy simmering a potent looking brew of some sort. She holds the viewer in a direct gaze. The owl stands next to a clump of toadstools that look as though they may be part of her potion recipe.

The anthropomorphic art doll sculpture is needle felted wool over a frame of wire and quilt batting. She features glass beed eyes, and Swarovski crystal embellishments on her satchel. Her hat is needle felted wool over a synthetic felt base.

We Have to Wait

As I plan to have this piece in a show that opens at the end of September, you will have to wait a while to see Too Familiar in person, or for her to be available for purchase.

Sculptures in Motion

I strive to capture movement in many of my sculptures. I’ve also managed to make a few of them move on their own. Or, at least they appear to be in motion.

I’ve recently written about the fact that transitioning work to online venues requires more than one or two good images. I’ve started providing multiple angle views, scale views, and images of work “in use.” Now, I’ve decided to have a bit of fun with stop motion animations. The hope is that using these videos on my social media can help capture a few more looks during the holidays. Having work that resembles characters from classic holiday specials helps in their creation. They are also just plain entertaining and fun, though they are rather time consuming to produce.

Puffin Pyramid

I’ll start here with the most recent. I just created this playful video of some of my puffin ornaments forming a pyramid. My puffin and polar bear ornaments will be available on my Etsy shop, the HGA online shop, and at HGA. I create them several at a time following my own original design. However, they are each truly an individual handcrafted item, all just a little bit different. This allows them to be a small, unique, and very gift-able piece of original art.

A Winter Ride in Motion

The first stop motion I produced a couple of weeks ago is a silent short for my piece titled Winter Ride. This anthropomorphic sculpture is already available on my Etsy shop, and may be on view in-person at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts soon. Winter Ride can be that future holiday heirloom, but I certainly hope whomever takes it home would want to display it year round.

Winter Ride in motion

The complete sculpture assemblage is 12 inches long, 6 inches high, and 4 inches deep. Momma bear is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. Baby bear is needle felted wool over quilt batting form. The miniature sleigh and harness I constructed from wood craft sticks, copper coated flat wire, leather, metal brad fasteners, and jewelry findings. Both bears have hand stitched iridescent glass bead eyes.

Winter Ride anthropomorphic needle felted art doll sculpture
Winter Ride

I will be sharing both videos on various platforms over the next two months. I hope that you enjoy them, and take the time to follow the links to their sales pages.

In need of an Inked Art Doll?

An Art Doll With a Bit of Ink

This latest anthropomorphic art doll is a bit off the beaten path. Inked is a needle felted and “tattooed” squid figure sculpture. Several types of cephalopods produce ink like substances that they use to deter would be predators. Playing with idea of being tattooed as “being inked,” my squid creation sports a jellyfish tattoo. The inked connection is reinforced by the needle felting process itself. Wool fibers are felted together by pushing them with a felting needle as ink is pushed with a needle in tattooing.

"Inked" - anthropomorphic needle felted squid art doll sculpture with tattoo.
Inked

Inked is not the only cephalopod in my recent body of work. I created the piece ‘Multitasking”, a tea serving octopus, for my gallery feature show. I wrote about him here earlier this year

Construction of a Squid Art Doll

The under structure of this sculpture is somewhat more involved than most, as you might imagine. Quite a bit of wire twisting was needed to form the base of the head, eight arms, and two tentacles. Once that somewhat unwieldy structure was complete, I felted quilt batting over the wire to provide the more sculpted form. Over this batting form I then felt the wool “skin” of the creature. I set large glass gems for the reflective eyes, and felted the socket surrounds of each.

Inked’s distinctive jellyfish and bubbles tattoo was needle felted in place on the the figure’s tube and head.

Not Your Typical Doll

detail of Inked's needle felted tattoo
detail of Inked’s tattoo

Inked is certainly not your typical art doll sculpture. It is neither pretty, nor cute in the usual sense. I do find it both intriguing and visually interesting, and hope that others do too. Playing with ideas and forms that others might not helps to keep work fresh, fun, and surprising. I have added Inked to my Etsy store so someone else intrigued by its distinctive nature can take it home.

face of Moose Call, anthropomorphic moose art doll sculpture

Moose Call to Etsy

Moose Call is my newest anthropomorphic art doll sculpture, and he seems an appropriate piece to announce the opening of my new Etsy shop.

Moose Call anthropomorphic moose art doll figure sculpture
Moose Call

I have gone back and forth on opening an Etsy. As you know, you can inquire about my pieces available for purchase here. Additionally, I have pieces listed on the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts shop pages.

Driving traffic to stand alone websites mine or HGA is multifaceted. It is easier and more effective to let those whose job it is take charge. So, I made the decision to let the web marketing pros on Etsy take the wheel in that area. That doesn’t mean that I don’t still have to do as much posting and sharing, or even perhaps more. But, it does mean that the audience is already gathered in one place.

Having work available both online, and in the physical gallery, takes a bit more inventory finesse. I am learning as I go. Taking more and more varied images of each piece. Weighing and measuring each before listing them for postage calculations. Also, making sure that inventories in the virtual world and physical gallery don’t intersect. Not sure, but it may be possible that this last one could cause some cross dimensional rift to form. As a result I have only a few pieces up so far. I will be working to round out the inventory soon.

The Moose Himself

Moose Call sits about about 14 inches tall on his “stump” base. He is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting frame. I used dark slightly reflective beads for his eyes that provide a nice extra sparkle. He is dressed for a brisk day in the woods with his wool vest, scarf, and cloven mittens and boots.

face of Moose Call, anthropomorphic moose art doll sculpture
Moose Call close up

My Etsy Shop is named LWSculpted Shop, and you can purchase Moose Call there right now!

If you do take the time to visit my new Etsy shop, please give us a “Favorite ❤️.”

Thanks.

Hedgehog Folk and Giving Back

I was about to start musing about 2020 already being half over, but let’s start with an introduction instead. One gets the feeling that right about now we need some poignant, soon to be classic, protest songs. Ironically, I created a piece titled “Protest Songs” last October. Now, I just finished an anthropomorphic folk singing companion piece I’ve named “Dylan.”

Dylan anthropomorphic hedgehog art doll figure sculpture
Dylan

Dylan is a hedgehog and he stands about 10 inches high. He plays a custom made acoustic guitar, and sports a hat that seems vaguely familiar. He is loosely inspired by Bob Dylan’s look from his 1975 “Rolling Thunder Review” tour. As Dylan often serves as the quintessential model of a folk singer, I chose him as my model too. Who isn’t in need of a little folk singing hedgehog right about now? I’ve added Dylan to my “Available for Purchase” pieces, so you can let me know you need him to live in your home.

Giving Back

The gallery currently has a new online show up that opened last Friday. You can shop this new show, “Surfaces,” and work by all the Hillsborough Gallery artists in our online shop.

Opening later this month will be our special “Giving Back” show. This show will donate a percentage of the proceeds to local first responders. I will have two pieces available in that upcoming show. I will be sure to share the link with you as soon as the show goes live on our website.

Wish on a Breeze needle felted relief on up cycled denim
Wish on a Breeze 9″x6″

The first piece is a twist on some of the little needle felted relief sculpture panels I have created. This panel, titled “Wish on a Breeze” combines techniques I’ve incorporated into my one of a kind handbags. I needle felt, and then stitch secure artwork onto denim recycled from old jeans. This 9″ x 6″ dandelion panel can be hung by the chord stitched into its back, or tabletop displayed on the included easel.

Squiggle Heart needle felted wool on leather chord necklace
Squiggle Heart

I will also have available this needle felted Squiggle Heart pendant. The heart element measures 2″ across, and slides on a leather chord with hand forged hook clasp.

Keep an eye out for the opening of Giving Back.

Wings and a Whisk –

Let’s start with the whisk. Titled Hands Off The Carrot Cake, my anthropomorphic rabbit chief appears to mean business. This art doll sculpture appears cute and fluffy, but also not afraid to use his whisk if needed. This needle-felted figure sculpture stands about 15 inches high, and is ready to oversee things going on in the kitchen.

Hands Off The Carrot Cake - anthropomorphic needle-felted rabbit chief sculpture
Hands Off The Carrot Cake 15″x8″x 8″

Hands Off The Carrot Cake features a custom chef’s hat, apron, and hand formed copper wire whisk. This piece recalls an earlier singing chief I created in paper mâché and paperclay, and two early terra cotta figures I made in school.

About the Wings

Titled Stretching Her Wings, this piece is about a foot tall and stands on four of her delicate butterfly legs. She is using her top two legs to help get the last bit of stretch in her new wings. We can only imagine that she is happy to have emerged from her metamorphic phase.

Stretching Her Wings - anthropomorphic butterfly needle-felted sculpture
Stretching Her Wings 11″x 13″x7″

I’m not sure if I will just make these two new pieces available online, or if one or both will take a trip to the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. I’m still figuring out the the ins and outs of maintaining an online inventory. For now, both are available on my Available for Purchase page.

Going on at the Gallery

Due to Covid-19, the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is currently open on Saturday afternoon from noon to 4, or by private appointment. I will update you as we add more open hours to the schedule. You can see an ever growing and changing collection of art from all the HGA member artist in our online Art Shop.

Anthropomorphic Art Dolls Moving On?

…But they’re not gone!

This week is the last Friday of the month. A new featured artist show, Construction, is going live online for HGA. But, Three Narratives isn’t really going anywhere. My anthropomorphic art dolls will remain available both within the gallery featured sales pages, and here on my Available for Purchase page.

Multitasking anthropomorphic art doll
Multitasking 12″x7″x12″

At the Gallery

Those same anthropomorphic art dolls are now at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts awaiting our controlled reopening. As you can imagine, a space where patrons linger, converse, and touch objects is rife with contact concerns. The HGA owner artists are carefully considering all the angles we can think of to safely start to welcome visitors back. The current plan is to offer private appointments one weekday, and open a few hours with precautions on Saturdays. Details on both options are still being finalized. I will share all that information with you here, as soon as I can.

High Fashion anthropomorphic art doll
High Fashion 7″x18″x10″

Not Just Anthropomorphic Art Dolls.

Even with the move towards careful reopening, we are building and refining HGA’s online sales offerings. As you might imagine, something that required building on the fly has experienced a hiccup or two. The experience of the past few months has taught us that we need to develop this side of our gallery further. Keep checking in with me here. I will continue to share new developments. In the mean time, take a second look at our special Art Under $100 show. This show features pieces donated by the HGA member artists, and all proceeds go to maintaining the gallery.

Blue Butterfly Bag
Blue Butterfly bag 8″x11″x1/2″
Flower Necklace -purple and turquoise needle felted flowers on leather chord
Flower Necklace

Look at the Screen

Artwork looks much different through a computer screen. Some views are actually enhanced by an image. I see the details of the Mona Lisa much better in high resolution scans than when I looked through glass from the midst of a pack of tourists. I’m sure the experience would be very different if I were able to view the masterpiece face-to-face. In the real world, however, the computer screen may be one’s best option.

My Sculpture on the Screen

  • High Fashion anthropomorphic art doll
  • Climate Report anthropomorphic art doll
  • Emu Incognito anthropomorphic art doll
  • Multitasking anthropomorphic art doll
  • Literary Cat anthropomorphic art doll
  • Too En Pointe? anthropomorphic art doll
  • Stroll anthropomorphic art doll
  • Upstart Crow anthropomorphic art doll
  • Happiness Isn't anthropomorphic art doll
  • Out of Water anthropomorphic art doll
  • Pierre anthropomorphic art doll
  • Secrets Locked anthropomorphic art doll

My much humbler artwork is definitely viewed best up close and in person. Sculptures of relatively compact scale need the viewer to move in close, and see all around. Needle felted wool adds a textural warmth to the surface of my pieces that does not translate as well in photographs. I could provide multiple views of each sculpture, but even those run up to the barrier created by the two-dimensional screen.

Experiencing an art show from the side of the artist has also been altered by the computer screen. I posted here presenting a few pieces each time, and then shared each post on social media. Then, I sat back and waited for blog comments, or likes and shares. Even though I had done these things in the past for my shows, now they are the show. A conversation with someone at the opening about what made one piece their favorite is replaced with a “thumbs-up” emoji. Seems that the show has been distanced in both space and in time.

On The Horizon

I am waiting on some direct links to share with you for other things we are working on for the gallery. HGA’s website will soon have a couple of additional pieces for sale by each of our member artists on the HGA website. The Square market where we have virtually shared our featured artist shows (like my current Three Narratives) will also feature a special new offering. Each of our HGA member artists donated a piece priced $100 or less with all proceeds going to the maintenance of the gallery. Shipping is included for all of these wonderful works. This up-cycled denim bag with needle felted embellishments is my donation.

Blue Butterfly bag
Blue Butterfly bag – 8″x11″x1/2″

I will share links to these two new places for you to access our art as soon as they are available.